Changing Seasons

I thought for the longest time about what my final post of the year would be. Originally I thought it would be a collab with one of my blogger babes, Brooke and Jonquel, but then I changed my mind to doing another OOTD. I mean this is primarily a fashion blog after all. But then something happened that made me think about the concept of change and letting go which I find to be very fitting as we are about to enter a new year.

Of all things the things that helped me truly grasp this concept was a recent coat purchase. I know that may seem like a superfluous thing, but hear me out. Continue reading

Stories in Black and White

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending VoWcon (Voices of Women Conference) as always to be expected from 4 Real Women International, INC. it was a wonderful and inspiring event with a diverse set of honored guests that included Award winning -journalist and Spectrum NY 1 News anchor, Cheryl Wills and Brandi Inez Sutton of the Metropolitan Opera. The theme for the conference this year was all about breaking barriers in all parts of your life and highlighted the need to share your story.

With 4RWI CFO, Angela Fletcher & 4RWI Founder, Norka Blackman-Richards

What made this VoWcon17 even more special was the fact that it was also the book launch of Real Women’s Stories – a powerful, inspiring collection of short stories by and about real women. I had been invited to submit a chapter for this book earlier in the year and it was approved to be included in the published text very soon after I sent my first draft. Ever since I was a kid I’ve had the goal to be a published author so the fact that my first published work is actually a chapter about a personal life experience is pretty surreal, nevertheless I can officially add “author” in my resume while also take pride in the fact that my words may help and inspire someone going through similar challenges to the ones I had.

The books!

As one of the authors of the anthology, I knew I would be expected to attend the conference so back in the summer I had already made plans for an outfit to the point that just needed to find the right shoes for it. However a little less than a week before the event, I was asked by my editor and the 4RWI team to wear white, which worried me because I can literally count on one hand the amount of white items in my closet. With no time to shop I put in my request for my Dia box and got this lovely dress from the new Nanette by Nanette Lepore collection.  Continue reading

How I Shop On a Budget

With a blog that has “thin wallet” right on the title you would think that my shopping routine would have been something that I would have covered already. I may be behind but given the fact that we have just entered fall and entering the holiday season this seems like a great time to breach this subject.

Being on a budget should never be a deterrent to having great fashion and style.

Fair warning, my shopping routine does involve a lot of footwork  other than just going through the sales and clearance sections both online and in-store, but considering the abundance of clothes that are currently stuffed in my closet and armoire I have to say that it is worth it.

Disclaimer: While this is indeed a process there really isn’t an order to my methods save for the first and last items on this list .

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Not Ideal But Real

When I think about how my style has evolved in the last 5 years I get amazed about the change. After college I wanted to get out of my self-imposed uniform of jeans, polo shirt and a sweater so I began working on bringing out the different sides of my personality in my personal style; my favorite being the most obvious. I bought pieces not because it it happened to fit and cover my body but because they were what I wanted to express of myself.

Fashion, and more importantly style, is about who you want to be, dressing the way you like and owning it. For me this also includes challenging widely accepted beauty standards  that advertise ideal beauty so it is nice to know that there are brands that are willing to help push against this as well.

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I Am Black and Latina Enough!

I navigate my life by doing two things consistently – explaining and apologizing. Its as frustrating and annoying as you can imagine, yet it becomes necessary when you navigate through life being constantly asked which one of your parents are white (the answer is neither) and how someone of my complexion is of Latino descent. In the United States skin color is your only identity so the moment that I enter a room the confusion starts.  Latinos come in various shades as we are the most racially diverse people in the world. As I mentioned in a previous post, it just goes back to history – 95% of the slave trade took place in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Wearing an authentic Panamanian Kuna mola headband my mother bought for me at a Latino Heritage event in Washington DC last month.

Panama, my parents’ native land, even has two significant waves of African/black migration* that helped shape the culture as we know it today. The first is known as the “Afro-colonial” wave in which slaves came with conquistador, Vasco Núñez de Balboa as he settled this territory for the Spanish crown during the 16th century. The second is the “Afro-Antillean” wave which took place around the time that Panama gained its independence and West Indian immigrants from neighboring countries like Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica, came over to build the Panama Canal. On my mother’s side alone we have family members that are black (primarily of Jamaican descent), white, Asian and indigenous. I think that is actually part of the reason why people have issues with Latinos, because unlike most ethnic groups we are just so diverse that we can’t be categorized easily. Not that we should be doing this but it is a reality, at least in the US.  Continue reading